The day I met her, May 21, 2016, I ended up singing Luther Vandross - So Amazing to her. I had no idea that song’s message would ultimately embody the time we would spend together..
It was the first Sunday prayer service in the mountains and as I told my story, she cried. She cried uncontrollably and I knew we shared a horrible reality. Her pain bellowed through her tears and she didn't need to say a word. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She had been broken and even her brokenness was beautiful.
She made coffee and we discussed our biggest secrets. From that moment I knew I needed her in my life. I told her she made the best coffee I had ever tasted. Though I usually don’t prefer coffee, I requested a cup each night for the next two weeks.
We sat in the common area of her cottage and talked about small things. What was her day like? How was her family? The more I met with her under the guise of good coffee, the deeper I was falling.
Her smile makes the sun look like a flicker and she has the kindest eyes I have ever seen.
We took our time, we certainly had time on our side. We were a part of a 10 week residential training program for young leaders. So we saw each other every day and we spent time getting to know each other every evening over coffee.
She was always on my mind. I began to write letters and prayers for her each day and I would give them to her each evening. I wanted her to know what I felt and how I presented her to the Lord daily. Everyday I told her she was beautiful and I meant it. When we were together, I would take her hand and pray for her.
One night I walked out. We were sitting at the table and I became frustrated with what I viewed as her lack of clarity and/or expression. Certainly this woman could tell I was falling for her, I thought, but her feelings and intentions were unclear. She told me to leave, so I walked out.
I didn't realize how much I hurt her by leaving. She didn't want to speak to me. She didn't want to see me. I had placed our time together in jeopardy. But I refused to allow it to be lost. I went back to her house, although she protested. She was already in bed. I went into her room and she asked, "Why are you here." I told her I was there because she was there. And I took her hand and I began to pray as I did every night. We talked about our feelings and intentions. She made me promise never to walk out again. I promised.
We began to spend almost all free time together.
I knew I had met a woman whose grace and beauty are unmatched. Her commitment to God is so refreshing. Without knowing what the future holds, I made a commitment to recognize and celebrate what makes her so stunning. I committed to affirming her daily and setting a high standard in her life for what she should expect. Whether I was in her life for a season or a lifetime, I knew she deserved the effort I was committed to giving. So I let down my guard and I gave her my heart.
One evening, I asked her what she wanted. "I want to know what it's like to be yours," she said. "I want to know the feeling of holding your hand in public, being next to you. I want you to be the reason I wake up. I want you to be the reason I smile or act silly. I want you to be the one who makes me smile when I am sad, like you did today."
I was committed to maintaining the integrity of the leadership program. For me, that also meant not allowing our feelings for each other to become a distraction for the rest of the participants. The end of the program was quickly approaching. I informed the program director of our developing relationship. I asked permission to be excused from the usual group dinner the day before graduation. I wanted to take her on a proper date. We walked hand in hand along the water's edge in the city. Although it was dark, it was a beautiful view. The sound of the water crashing against the rock was our anthem. It still plays in my mind when I think about her.
We had dinner at an amazing restaurant called "Lemon Butter." She ordered the grilled chicken over mashed potatoes with a mushroom gravy and I had a burger and chips. We sat by the window overlooking the ocean and stared into each other's eyes. We knew we only had two days left. We admired each other's presence. She fed me food from her plate and I fed her food from mine. I made her laugh and she made me smile. The night was perfect! We shared dessert and returned to the program. The time, conversation, smiles, laughter, and kisses we shared were priceless.
Finally, the day of my flight arrived. She was so strong. She tried not to cry. I made her promise at dinner that she wouldn't. We sat in the back of the taxi and shared each other's gaze. We kissed every few kilometers. With every approaching minute, my heart broke more. As we took the ramp for the airport, I took her hand one last time and began to pray:
I thank you for this woman. She has changed my life and I love her. I have never felt this way and leaving her is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But God, please protect her since I can't be here to protect her. God, you're the only one I trust to do this. God, keep her so close to you, anyone who wants to be in her life has to come through you to get to her. Thank you for creating this beautiful woman. Thank you so very much. Amen.
I felt her tears as my cheek pressed against hers. In the airport, we sat quietly and she tried not to let me see her fall apart. I just wanted to look into her eyes. I had fallen in love with her eyes. She brushed away her tears and gazed at me the way only she could. I took her hands and began to sang the song I sang the first day I met her:
Love has truly been good to me not even one sad day
Or minute have I had since you've come my way
I hope you know I'll gladly go anywhere you take me
It's so amazing to be loved I'll follow you to the moon and the sky above
Got to tell you how you thrill me not even one sad day
Or minute have I had since you've come my way
Bye bye sadness hello mello what a wonderful day
It's so amazing to be loved I'll follow you to the moon and the sky above.
We kissed goodbye and I watched her walk away. It truly was the saddest day of my life.